A HOUSING provider has launched an art competition for Somerset residents.

Stonewater is inviting artists to inspire residents at housing developments across England, with the George Blunden Public Art Prize.

The competition is aiming to find an artist who can produce artwork as a focal point for five new schemes Stonewater is building.

The winner will be award £75,000.

Each commission will be allocated a separate budget for delivering and executing the public art at each site, covering costs such as the fabrication, build, materials, and logistics.

Stonewater is asking entrants to come up with an idea for a long-term, low maintenance installation for one of its developments currently under construction.

It is asking them to demonstrate how they would work with colleagues and communities to develop such artworks across a number of schemes.

One example of this is Stonewater’s development on Orchid Acre Close, Stoke-sub-Hamdon. To celebrate the village’s history of glove making, Stonewater commissioned a local artist to create an iron archway entrance to the community edible garden depicting the Southcombe glove factory, which was opened in 1847.

Jonathan Layzell, executive director of development at Stonewater, said: “Stonewater has been a longstanding crusader of public art within our new developments, recognising the visual and social value it brings.

“Such artworks encourage people to visit, gather and socialise, presenting an exciting opportunity to build a strong sense of community among new and existing residents of the area.

“Over the last year, while many of us have spent more time exploring our local surroundings during the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of having beautiful sights and engaging outdoor areas near our homes has never been greater.

“With this, our first public art award competition, we are looking to bring communities together to express and voice new ideas, enriching our existing public art initiatives.”

The prize has been named after Stonewater’s founding board chair, George Blunden, in recognition of his commitment to adding value and creating a sense of place at every development built by the housing provider.

George stepped down in 2019 and was recently awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his work in the housing sector with Stonewater.

To find out more visit stonewater.org/news/stonewater-launches-the-george-blunden-public-art-prize/.